Running your own blog gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time. It’s definitely a dream come true for many people!
However, working from different locations can expose you to heightened cybersecurity threats. Hackers may target your site and steal the information for their personal gain. They may add malicious codes to your blog, which could get your site blacklisted or expose your visitors to cyber-attacks. You may have become the target yourself when hackers target your computer while blogging or working on a public Wi-Fi network.
Here’s how to keep your blog visitors and your own data safe while blogging from the road:
1. Secure Your Connection
Bloggers who fail to secure their network connections can easily fall prey to viruses and other security threats. These can allow hackers to steal your information or expose your visitors to phishing attacks.
Enhance security with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, which keeps your data encrypted. Also, don’t use public Wi-Fi to log into your site so you can avoid unnecessary risks.
Reinforce the security of all the devices you use to access your site, including laptop, smartphone, and tablet. Install firewalls and anti-virus software on your computer and make sure that they’re updated periodically to protect you against the latest threats.
2. Moderate Your Comments
Life on the road is busy and exciting but it doesn’t mean you can afford to overlook simple maintenance tasks, such as moderating comments on your blog.
As your blog starts to attract traffic, it will also get onto the radar of malicious actors who misuse the comment section to leave fraudulent links that pose a risk to you and your readers. For example, they could leave links that look like they are providing additional information when in reality they are designed to steal your personal information. While it’s exciting to be getting comments, you should screen them carefully and remove suspicious ones to protect yourself and your readers.
3. Update Your Software
Updating your software and plug-ins may seem tedious when you have places to go and people to see. However, unpatched vulnerabilities can expose you and your readers to unnecessary risks. Software patches essentially “patch” security holes that have been uncovered by hacking attempts or that software company who build them found.
Regularly check for software and plug-in updates on your admin panel. If available, turn on the auto-update feature to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. If you haven’t used a plug-in for a while or notice one that hasn’t been updated for a long time, delete it from your blog to minimize risk exposure.
4. Reinforce Your Verification System
Hackers can’t steal information or do extensive damage to your site if they can’t log into your admin panel. Use a strong password that you don’t use for any other sites and avoid using default username for the admin account (e.g., “admin”) to prevent brute force attacks.
Many blogging platforms also offer the capability to add two-factor authentication, also called 2-step verification, to the login process. Besides password, you will need to verify your identity using something that you have (e.g., a code sent via text message.) This ensures that a hacker can’t get into your system even if a password has been compromised.
5. Set Access Privilege
Delegating some of the blog maintenance tasks can be a great way to free up your time and attention while you’re on the road. However, you should make sure that anyone working for you won’t compromise website security.
Each user should have his/her unique username and password — never share your admin credentials with anyone else! Besides strong passwords, they should be assigned a role with the right access privilege to do their work.
For example, if you hire someone to format and post content for you, they can be assigned an “author” role instead of the “admin” role. Take it a step further and only allow them access to the specific blog posts or sections of the admin panel that they will be working on. Even if a hacker manages to steal their credentials, access to sensitive information can be limited.
6. Secure Your Physical Environment
If you work in cafes or co-working spaces while traveling, make sure your working environment is secure. Be aware of the “line of sight” as hackers with the right observational skills can watch what you’re doing and identify confidential information.
Don’t leave your devices unattended in public areas or inside a vehicle in a parking lot. Cybercriminals tend to lurk around those places for opportunities. Also, don’t insert any random thumb drive into your computer and if you need to charge any device using public phone charging stations, use a USB blocker to prevent data exchange and guard against malware.
7. Backup Your Data
What if something happens to your site and all your content got wiped out in a blink of an eye? Or, what if your site is infected by ransomware? Unfortunately, this has happened to many bloggers and you don’t want to be the next victim!
Backup your content frequently and keep multiple copies of your data. Most content management systems (e.g., WordPress) allow you to download your files and some hosting companies also offer backup services for an additional fee so you can rest assured that you always have a copy of the latest content. In addition, it’s a good idea to use digital backup solutions like Carbonite that back up your desktop files along with an external hard drive.
There’s nothing like the freedom you get from blogging while you travel all over the world. It’s a great way to make money, share your experiences all while making a passive income. Just remember that traveling abroad has its dangers and cybercriminals are always on the lookout for their next victim. Use these tips and tools to keep your business and personal data safe while blogging from the road.